Six Reasons Why the Lakers Could Be a Better Team with LeBron at the Five!
One of the most exciting developments in this rough Lakers’ season has been Frank Vogel’s recent small ball lineups with LeBron at the five and Melo at the four, which have shown great promise both offensively and defensively.
Last week I wrote Could the Evolution of LeBron James Be Small Ball Stretch Five for Lakers? Today I want to talk about why the Lakers should immediately start playing more LeBron James at the five, even when AD is in the game. LeBron James is a basketball unicorn who can truly play all five positions. In his storied 19-year career, he has played point guard 6% of the time, shooting guard 7%, small forward 60%, power forward 26%, and center just 1%.
After the success of several lineup experiments with LeBron at the five and Melo at the four, Frank Vogel announced the Lakers will be incorporating variations of the what he calls their ‘centerless lineups’ in their repertoire. The Lakers’ ‘centerless lineup’ with Westbrook, Ellington, Monk, Anthony, and James showed great promise in two of the last three games and variation where Howard replaced James in the lineup was equally promising.
Assuming the Lakers play their ‘centerless lineup’ with LeBron at the five for 6 minutes in the first half and 6 in the second half, LeBron could end up at spending 12 minutes or 30% of his 40 minutes per game playing the five. Considering LeBron’s success at the five and AD’s preference for the four, the obvious next question is whether the Lakers should consider a variation of their ‘centerless lineup’ that has James at the five and Davis at the four?
Could the Lakers truly be an even better team with LeBron James at the five and Anthony Davis at the four? Could LeBron James actually could be the better center and Anthony Davis the better power forward for this team? Nobody sees the game the way LeBron James does and starting his move to what will ultimately be the logical lineup position to finish his career could end up being transformative for the Lakers’ current rotation and lineups.
The Lakers urgently need a catalyst to set a fire to their season and playing LeBron James at the five could be that catalyst. Here are six reasons why the Lakers could be a better team with LeBron James playing the five:
1. LeBron Is the Lakers’ Best Option as a Stretch Five Center
No player on the Lakers is better suited to play stretch five than LeBron. His volume 3-point shooting and low post power game enable him to play small or big. He would become the LA Lakers version of Nikola Jokic.
2. LeBron at Center Excels in Organizing and Directing Defense
LeBron at the five is about defense. It’s about LeBron playing Minister of Defense for the Lakers like Draymond Green does for the Warriors, calling out opponents’ plays and choreographing the Lakers defense shifts.
3. LeBron at Center Is More Engaged and Plays Better Defense
There’s no question playing center gets LeBron James more engaged in the game defensively since he acts like the team’s middle linebacker. The bonus is playing James at the five unleashes LeBron to play superstar level defense.
4. LeBron at Center Does a Better Job Boxing Out and Rebounding
As good as AD is as a rebounder, he rarely boxes out his man. LeBron, on the other hand, is one of the few Lakers who usually do a great job rebounding. Nothing better than LeBron kick starting a fast break with a rebound.
5. LeBron Has Low Center of Gravity to Defend Bigger Centers
Having a low center of gravity that makes you essentially unmovable is the biggest asset LeBron James has over Anthony Davis. His combination of size, smarts, power, and athleticism enable him to defend any kind of center.
6. LeBron Willingly Plays the Five But AD Prefers the Four
Anthony Davis does not want to play the five. His game is more finesse than power and he prefers to face up his defender rather than post him up. LeBron, on the other hand, loves to post up or shoot a three over centers.
If you enjoyed this article and want to share your ideas and comments with other Lakers fans, please join us at Lakerholics.Com.